Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning another COVID surge could be on the horizon of Americans relax their mask-wearing and social distancing.
The infectious diseases expert, 80, made the claim during an interview with Chris Hayes on MSNBC Friday night.
COVID cases across the US have started to plateau at around 55,000 per day in recent weeks, leading some to speculate that the pandemic is almost over, given the vaccine roll-out and the onset of warmer weather.
But Fauci told Hayes that the 55,000 number is concerning and could lead to a sudden spike.
‘Instead of continuing to go down at a sharp line it’s plateaued. Once it’s done that, there’s a high risk of another resurgence. We’ve seen that with previous surges. The other three [surges] that we’ve had in this country,’ the top doctor explained.
‘Don’t declare victory prematurely. We still have a ways to go, plateauing at 50,000 cases a day is not a good place to be. And that’s where we are. We’ve got to keep pushing to get it down even further.’
Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning another COVID surge could be on the horizon of Americans relax their mask-wearing and social distancing
Many parts of Europe are currently heading back into lockdown as the number of COVID-19 cases rise there. Fauci fears the US may follow suit if Americans continue to let their guard down.
‘Europe tends to be three or four weeks ahead of us in the dynamics of the outbreak,’ Fauci stated.’
‘They went up, came down, plateaued. They pulled back on the mitigation methods. They stop wearing masks. They opened up the bars. They did the things that we warned shouldn’t be done and now Europe is seeing, in general, a surge of five to ten percent. I hope that doesn’t happen here, but it looks like it’s starting to do that.’
The doctor is encouraging Americans to redouble in their efforts to mask and maintain distance despite widespread fatigue.
He stated: ‘We just have to hang in there a bit longer because every day that goes by you get two to three million people more vaccinated and as we get out of March into April and May, a lot more people will be vaccinated, which would make it a lot less likely that you’d see a surge.’
Fauci repeated his claim on Saturday morning during an interview with TODAY, stating: ‘When you have that plateauing, that’s usually the forerunner of another surge.’
On Friday, there were 61,413 new COVID-19 cases recorded across the United States. That is up slightly from the average of the previous seven days, which is 56,316.
Some conservative politicians have accused Fauci of fear-mongering and of overemphasizing masks and social distancing in a bid to maintain relevance
In the past year, 29.7 millio Americans have tested positive to COVID-19.
A staggering 541, 145 people across the country have died from the disease.
However, the death rate has decreased since record highs at the beginning of the year, and Americans are feeling increasingly optimistic given that the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out has increased in efficiency.
According to the CDC, 41.9 million Americans have now been fully vaccinated.
An additional 35.1 million Americans have received their first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
But experts say it is now a race between the virus and the vaccine with troubling new variants spreading which could threaten to weaken or evade the effectiveness of the injections.
‘I think it is a race against time,’ said Dr. Stephen J. Thomas, SUNY Upstate Medical University’s chief of infectious disease to the New York Times. ‘Every single person that we can get vaccinated or every single person that we can get a mask on is one less opportunity that a variant has.’
States along the East Coast, in particular, appear to be struggling to reduce their cases.
This, coupled with the fact many governors are now relaxing state restrictions is placing added pressure on the effort to drive the infection rate down further.
Businesses including bars, indoor gyms and casinos are reopening and increasing capacity. Restaurants are also reopening and indoor dining is also making a return.
Some public health experts warn this could increase the risk of spread – especially with the new variants, though others – such as Florida officials – defend re-opening and say people can be trusted to be careful.
However,the experts have expressed alarm as college students descend on the Sunshine State for Spring Break.
Thousands of maskless revelers have been seeing partying on packed beaches and in teeming bars in spite of the public health risks.
Experts have expressed alarm as college students descend on the Sunshine State for Spring Break. Thousands of maskless revelers have been seeing partying on packed beaches and in teeming bars in spite of the public health risks
According to the CDC, 41.9 million Americans have now been fully vaccinated. An additional 35.1 million Americans have received their first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.